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Saturday News: Gestapo tactics

ICE GRABS DURHAM IMMIGRANT AFTER TRICKING HIM INTO CITIZENSHIP INTERVIEW: Samuel Oliver-Bruno sought to defer his deportation to Mexico after living in the United States for more than 22 years. Oliver-Bruno arrived at a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Morrisville on Friday morning for an appointment, joined by his 19-year-old son, Daniel Oliver-Perez; a pastor at CityWell United Methodist Church, Cleve May; and other members of the clergy. May said once Oliver-Bruno completed paperwork, he and Oliver-Perez went to a line to be processed while May and clergy members stayed in a waiting room. “The next thing we know, several men jumped him, and Daniel clung to his father, and they were choking Daniel and trying to pull him off,” May said. Oliver-Perez, who is a citizen born in the U.S., was arrested and charged with assaulting a government employee; law enforcement officials said he assaulted an ICE officer.
https://www.wral.com/dozens-arrested-after-undocumented-man-living-in-durham-church-for-11-months-de...

Friday News: Sinophobia

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NC STATE UNIVERSITY ABRUPTLY CLOSES CHINA-FUNDED CONFUCIUS INSTITUTE: NCSU Provost Warwick Arden said the primary reason for the closure was to better align the university’s China and Asia programs with the rest of the university’s global strategy. But he added, “we’re certainly aware of the concerns that are circulating around Confucius Institutes.” The shuttering comes at a time of more intense scrutiny of the more than 100 Confucius Institutes on U.S. college campuses, and pressure from U.S. political leaders who say the centers pose a danger. In February, FBI director Christopher Wray told the Senate intelligence committee that the FBI was “watching warily” Confucius Institutes, according to a report by McClatchy. He warned of Chinese operatives infiltrating college campuses and “a level of naiveté” by academics in the U.S., according to the report. “They’re exploiting the very open research and development environment that we have, which we all revere,” Wray said, according to the McClatchy story. “But they’re taking advantage of it.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article221985800.html

Thursday News: You can't fix stupid...

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TALK RADIO HACK PAT MCCRORY CLAIMS NC COLLEGE STUDENTS VOTED ILLEGALLY: “In my particular election we had a lot of college students, who were out-of-state college students, vote,” McCrory said. “And they could do it because there was no voter ID which would’ve showed New Jersey license plates, Pennsylvania license plates, you name it. .... And I couldn’t do a thing about it.” “College students may register and vote in the county where they are attending college,” says the website of the North Carolina Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement. Pat Gannon, the elections board spokesman, clarified that the rule applies to students who move within North Carolina for college, as well as to students who moved here from another state. “Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there that unnecessarily erodes confidence in our election system,” Gannon said in an email. “We encourage everyone to understand the law and election policies and procedures before spreading inaccurate information.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article222039845.html

Wednesday News: Bait and switch?

NC GOP FLOATS REASONABLY SANE PROPOSAL FOR VOTER ID: It allows for free IDs and a wide range of photo IDs that would be accepted at the polls, including University of North Carolina system IDs. These college IDs weren't allowed under previous voter ID rules that were found unconstitutional by the federal courts. A joint House-Senate committee on elections plans to meet the day before to go over the bill. The following types of ID would be accepted under the legislation, which is still in draft form and may change: An NC drivers license. DMV identification cards for non-drivers. U.S. passports. A new NC voter ID card, as created by this legislation. A tribal enrollment card issued by a federally or state-recognized tribe. A student ID card from a University of North Carolina school. A drivers license or ID card issued by another state, if the voter's registration came within 90 days of the election.
https://www.wral.com/republicans-roll-out-voter-id-bill/18010240/

Tuesday News: Bringing justice to the justice system

BAIL BOND REFORM MAY BE ON THE HORIZON IN NC: Members of the North Carolina Courts Commission are gathering information about the need for changes to the state's pretrial release laws. The state is one of several weighing reforms of the cash bail system. "Those folks can often spend more time incarcerated pre-trial than they could ever get if they were convicted," Smith said. Advocates from several criminal justice reform groups attended the meeting, including Southerners on New Ground. Kyla Hartsfield, an organizer with that group, said they recently bailed out nine people, including single mothers and family breadwinners, who were in jail solely because they couldn't afford to make bail. Hartsfield said the consequences of pre-trial incarceration can be disastrous, regardless of the accused's innocent or guilt. "Lose your job, possibly lose your kids, lose your home," Hartsfield said. "What could I lose in a month? I could lose everything I have."
https://www.wral.com/state-weighs-changes-to-bail-system-to-reduce-burden-on-the-poor/18007860/

Monday News: Arrested development

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RALEIGH'S PLANNING COMMISSION AND CITY COUNCIL AT ODDS OVER GRANNY FLATS: Some members of the city’s planning board say the Raleigh City Council is ramming through rules for backyard cottages and granny flats that are so “overly complex” few people will ever build them. Several Planning Commission members feel their hands were tied after the council instructed them not to consider alternatives to proposed rules for accessory dwelling units, also known as backyard cottages and granny flats. The advisory commission debated the proposed rules last week before deciding to send them to a committee for more discussion. At least one planning commissioner was prepared to vote for the recommendations though he acknowledged he might be the only one. “I think a site-specific rezoning would be preferable, but we’re not at the beginning [of the discussion],” Planning Commissioner Bob Geary said, noting the more than five years the city has already spent on the issue. “We are well along, and the proposal sent to us by City Council is the one they intend to adopt. I think.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article221645025.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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RED STATES ARE EXPANDING MEDICAID, WHY NOT NC?: North Carolina’s Republican legislative leaders have some explaining to do regarding Medicaid expansion. They keep saying the state can’t afford it, but others states keep deciding they can. In the midterm elections, voters in three more states — three red states that voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump — approved ballot initiatives committing their states to expanding the government health insurance program for low-income people. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Johnathan Schleifer, executive director of the Fairness Project, a group that backed the initiatives, said, “Medicare expansion ballots represent a tectonic shift in health care across the county. The Republican Party has staked its political future on bashing the ACA for the better part of a decade and voters in some of the reddest states rejected that.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/article221744320.html

Saturday News: Freedom to harass

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MEADOWS FINED AND REPRIMANDED OVER CODDLING SEXUAL HARASSER: Rep. Mark Meadows, a Republican from western North Carolina, must repay the government more than $40,000 after the House Ethics Committee found that Meadows didn’t do enough to address or prevent harassment by his former chief of staff. Meadows, chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, also received a reprimand from the committee, which began an investigation in 2016 after getting a referral from the independent Office of Congressional Ethics. “Meadows’ failure to take prompt and decisive action to deal with the alleged sexual harassment in his congressional office was troubling,” the committee wrote in its report released Friday afternoon.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article221776670.html

Friday News: Sore loser

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BRAWLEY WANTS RECOUNT AFTER RACHEL HUNT'S LEAD INCREASES: Democrat Rachel Hunt declared victory Thursday night after she extended her narrow lead over Republican Rep. Bill Brawley, bringing Mecklenburg County’s last undecided legislative race closer to an apparent end. A count of provisional ballots gave Hunt an unofficial lead of 68 votes in House District 103. While the county elections board will meet Friday to certify the results, Brawley already has asked for a recount, according to Elections Director Michel Dickerson. Hunt gained a net three votes Thursday night after election officials counted provisional ballots and overseas absentee ballots. Brawley led by 52 votes on election night but Hunt jumped to the lead when absentee ballots were counted last week.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/article221646875.html

Thursday News: Performance art

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REPUBLICANS HOLD KANGAROO COURT OVER COOPER'S PIPELINE MITIGATION FUND: State legislators will hire an investigator to review Gov. Roy Cooper administration's handling of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline amid Republican suggestions that the governor may have extorted Duke Energy for millions over a key project permit. The decision came at the end of the second legislative committee meeting in a row on the controversy during which Republican lawmakers essentially asked rhetorical questions from a lectern. No one from the administration was there to answer. The Governor's Office said Republicans "staged another bizarre kangaroo court to score political points." Cooper has repeatedly denied the pay-to-play accusations, which Republican leaders present not as fact, but as open questions that the administration won't answer to their satisfaction.
https://www.wral.com/legislature-putting-investigator-onto-cooper-administration-over-atlantic-coast...

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